I don’t believe I am incorrect in stating that every “professing” Christian today has the mindset that they are a true Christian even though nothing has changed in their lives. They believe that because somewhere down the line they mouthed a few words that Jesus is Lord or they believe in Jesus, or walked the aisle, or filled out a card, or joined a church, etc., etc. they are “okay,” even though nothing has ever changed in their lives in relationship to Jesus.
True belief in Jesus will produce a life that is honorable to Him. Perfect? No, but honorable. The Holy Spirit, who takes residence in the soul of the new believer, will see to it that he/she grows in the Lord. There will be fruit. There may be just enough fruit that only God can see, but there will be fruit.
On the other hand, some think they must produce fruit first in order to be saved. That is also false. Works do not save anyone. That would be a total contradiction to Ephesians 2:8-9. However, once a person is saved, they are baptized with the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will produce fruit in the life of a true believer (see Galatians 5:22-26).
No person can be saved apart from God’s grace working through genuine faith in His Son. No works can be added by man. (Ephesians 2:8-9) The Bible is very clear on this. It is also just as clear that every true believer in Christ will grow in His grace. Some may grow much. Others may grow very little, but they will grow. They will be changed. No man can come to God in true belief and not be changed.
We live in a day when ignorance of God’s Word abounds from the pulpits to the pews. Ours is a day when the “feel-good, it’s all about me” gospel is proclaimed throughout the land. “Just say the magic words and hop on board to the soul train bound for Heaven.” “Live for the devil down here. Live for God up there.”
One of the most religious men of Jesus’ days on earth was Nicodemus, but Jesus told him he must be born again (John 3:3). He told Matthew, that thieving tax collector, to follow Him (Matthew 9:9). Jesus, in the Gospels and through the writings of Paul, Luke, John, Peter, James, and Jude made it very clear to those who will hear that being His disciple is more than a casual response.
No amount of religion will save a man (just ask the scribes and Pharisees, Matthew 23) and no depth of sin will keep a man or woman from Christ if he/she really wants to know Him as Savior and Lord (just ask the Samaritan woman, John 4:5-30 or the man from Gadara, Mark 5:1-13).
The Lord Jesus seeks to save all those who know they are not righteous and will follow Him.
“And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32)
The problem in these last days is that so many people are deceived in thinking they are not sick. They think they are righteous, simply because they say the magic words, “I’m a Christian.” They live no differently than Satan’s crowd and actually are fool enough to think that God must approve.
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” (Revelation 3:17-18)
Read Luke 5:31-32 again. If you have never really repented and turned to Jesus, you are not one of His. Jesus wants all to think about “Who He is.” (Matthew 16:13) If you really believe, as Peter did, that He is “the Christ, the Son of God,” you have come at a crossroads in your life, and it is here you either believe in Him or you just shrug Him off.
Look, let’s say that I have actually met Glen Campbell, talked to him and shook his hand. Does that make me a groupie? Of course not, and this is the plight of many “professing” Christians today. Maybe they met Jesus at a church service. Just because they met Him doesn’t mean they are a groupie. Why? They will not follow Him. Many of those in the first century, when Jesus walked the earth in bodily form, did the same thing. They liked what He had to say. They liked the meals He prepared and the miracles performed, but they were not interested enough in Him to follow Him.
Go back to Luke 5:31-32 again. It says a lot. It says that works won’t save anyone. It says that you cannot be saved until you humble yourself before Him and admit you need Him and are willing to commit to Him.
You may notice that I have used several Scriptures from the Gospels. Now some dear soul is probably going to write me and say, “You can’t use those verses because they’re in the Old Testament era, before the cross and have nothing to do with the Church.”
If it is true they have nothing to do with the Church (and it is not true), then I suppose we had better never use John 3:16 to witness to the lost. Oh, and we had better never use John 14:1-4 for a Rapture reference. Why? Both of these Scripture passages are before the cross (pre-Church age). Since they actually part of the Old Testament, we’ll just ignore them. (I’m being facetious.)
How has our God always saved people? It has always been by faith in His Son. That includes from Adam to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses (Law), from Moses to Pentecost, and from Pentecost (Church) to today. It has always been by faith, real legitimate faith in Him working by His grace. If we don’t have that, what we have (if anything) is nothing. We don’t have the life-giving water of God, but instead just plain water that runs through our fingers and a thirst that can never be quenched.
The attitude of Laodicea reigns supreme today. Oh there are also plenty of Philadelphians (who will go up in the Rapture), but far too many who say they are Christians today think they are rich and have no need of a Physician. What does Jesus say about that?
He said via the apostle Paul, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Then He said via the apostle John, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
Are you actually a Christian or are you just playing church? Who are you living for, you and your pleasures or Jesus Christ?
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html